If you were paying any sort of attention earlier this week, you know about the total solar eclipse that brought darkness to cities around the United States on Monday.
In the days leading up to the totality, medical professionals, retailers and past victimswarned of the dangers of looking directly at the eclipse without any eye protection. Their cautionary tales were enough to make anyone a little paranoid, even if they did take protective measures when watching the celestial event. But how’s a person to know if they have legitimate damage or if they are experience placebo symptoms from all of the hype?
Fox 2 Now in St. Louis did some digging and found a simple at-home test that of course, doesn’t replace a visit to the eye doctor, but may be an indicator of eye damage, if you are concerned. You can download an Amsler Grid online that can potentially suggest damage to the macula (the central part of the retina) or the optic nerve a.k.a. areas that could have been damaged by looking directly at the sun.
According to All About Vision, taking the test is easy. After printing it, just follow these simple steps:
- Test your eyes under normal room lighting used for reading.
- Wear eyeglasses you normally wear for reading (even if you wear only store-bought reading glasses).
- Hold the Amsler grid approximately 14-16 inches from your eyes.
- Test each eye separately: Cup your hand over one eye while testing the other eye.
- Keep your eye focused on the dot in the center of the grid and answer these questions:
- Do any of the lines in the grid appear wavy, blurred or distorted?
- Do all the boxes in the grid look square and the same size?
- Are there any “holes” (missing areas) or dark areas in the grid?
- Can you see all corners and sides of the grid (while keeping your eye on the central dot)?
Here is an example of what an Amsler grid looks like for someone with healthy vision compared to someone who may have macular damage.
But even if you take the test and have “healthy” results, if you’ve noticed any changes in your vision, it is important to report them to your eye doctor immediately. This test should not be used as a form of medical diagnosis.